See the common viewpoint is that:
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma,
related to my kamma, abide supported by my kamma;
whatever kamma I should do, for good or for ill, of that I will the heir.
So whatever we do, we have to take responsibility for our own actions and accept the consequences of our own actions.
However, this does not mean that we can not try and rectify any mistakes that we’ve made. For example, if a builder builds the wooden frame of a house wrong and leaves it as it is, then the whole section of that house can be unstable and be dangerous – that’s the consequences of him making the mistake or being uncareful or just sheer negligence.
If this builder recognizes the mistake, and goes back to fix it up properly before anyone gets injured, then the result that the foundation of the house can be strong and proper again.
Now the Lonaphala Sutta gives us this example:
– If a thief steals a goat from a farmer. Then the farmer can find the thief and bash him up before he gets the goat back.
– If instead, a king steals that same goat from the same farmer – the farmer wouldn’t dare bash him up. The farmer can merely just try to get to the king and ask the King nicely to return the goat back to him – saying, “pretty please”.
So here, we have:
– Exactly the same wrong action (stealing a goat).
– But different amount of good karma possessed by the person performing the wrongdoing.
And so, the results of exactly the same karma are different for each person.
The other example the Buddha gives us is this:
– Put 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup – it tastes salty, right?
– Put the same teaspoon of salt in a swimming pool – and taste it – you’ll hardly taste any salt.
– The bad karma is the salt.
– The good karma is the water.
Same amount of salt in different amounts of water gives you different concentrations of salt. In a similar way, same amount of bad karma amongst different amounts of good karma will yield a different amount of intensity of bad effects ripening.
Hence why, we can dilute the intensity of the bad result by doing good karma.